The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 620-601


620. Groundhog Day (1993) Dir. Harold Ramis, 101 mins.

Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself caught in a time loop, repeating the same day again and again. After indulging in hedonism and committing suicide numerous times, he begins to re-examine his life and priorities.

619. Angel’s Egg (1985) Dir. Mamoru Oshii, 71 mins.

A young girl is the sole protector of a very precious, large egg. Her lair is near a large, abandoned, decaying gothic city inhabited by restless shadows.

618. Roma (2018) Dir. Alfonso Cuarón, 135 mins.

Set in 1970 and 1971, Roma, which is a semi-autobiographical take on Cuarón’s upbringing in the Colonia Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, stars Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira and follows the life of a live-in housekeeper of a middle-class family.

617. La région centrale (1971) Dir. Michael Snow, 180 mins.

An experimental film shot in the Canadian mountains over a period of 24 hours using a robotic arm, and consisting entirely of preprogrammed movements.

616. Safety Last! (1923) Dir. Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor, 70 mins.

With Safety Last, star Harold Lloyd introduced the special style of comedy of thrills with which his name became always associated with. It’s the story of an average country boy trying to make good in the big city. The Boy (Lloyd) leaves his sweetheart, The Girl (Mildred Davis, later the real-life Mrs. Lloyd) in Great Bend while he pursues his fortune in a teeming metropolis. The film’s famous final third sees Lloyd attempting to scale the side of skyscraper.

615. The Emigrants (1971) Dir. Jan Troell, 191 mins.

It tells the story of poor Swedes who emigrate from Småland, Sweden, to Minnesota in the mid-19th century.

614. Baraka (1992) Dir. Ron Fricke, 97 mins.

Featuring no conventional narrative, the film presents footage of people, places and things from around the world.

613. Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) Dir. Thom Andersen, 169 mins.

Exploring the way Los Angeles has been presented in movies, the film consists almost entirely of clips from other films with narration.

612. A Grin Without A Cat (1977) Dir. Chris Marker, 240 mins.

Marker’s essay film focuses on global political turmoil in the 1960s and ’70s, including the rise of the New Left in France and the development of socialist movements in Latin America.

611. Ivan the Terrible, Part One (1944) Dir. Sergei M. Eisenstein, 103 mins.

After the success of Alexander Nevsky Eisenstein further enhanced his stature with Part One of what was due to be a trilogy. The masterful film deals with Czar Ivan’s beginnings as the ruler of Russia, his coronation and his marriage to Anastasia Romanovna (Lyudmila Tselikovskaya), his sudden grave illness and his mysterious recovery. The film went down well with Stalin who encouraged a progressive reading of certain czars and although Eisenstein portrayed his hero as troubled and complex, he was also shown as a decisive ruler bent on unifying Russia.

610. Persepolis (2007) Dir. Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi, 95 mins.

Marjane Satrapi is unable to board a plane to Iran. Sitting down to smoke a cigarette, she remembers her life as a girl in 1978 when she was 9 years of age.

609. The Big Sleep (1946) Dir. Howard Hawks, 114 mins.

The movie stars Humphrey Bogart as private detective Philip Marlowe and Lauren Bacall as Vivian Rutledge in a story about the “process of a criminal investigation, not its results.”

608. Raise the Red Lantern (1991) Dir. Yimou Zhang, 125 mins.

Set in the 1920s, the film tells the story of a young woman who becomes one of the concubines of a wealthy man during the Warlord Era. Watch

607. The Scarlet Empress (1934) Dir. Josef von Sternberg, 104 mins.

The Scarlet Empress is a historical drama made by Paramount Pictures about the life of Catherine the Great. Buy

606. Gimme Shelter (1970) Dir. Albert and David Maysles
Charlotte Zwerin, 91 mins.

It chronicles the last weeks of The Rolling Stones’ 1969 US tour which culminated in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert.

605. Stranger Than Paradise (1984) Dir. Jim Jarmusch, 89 mins.

Jarmusch’s absurdist comedy was shot entirely in single long takes and is a three act minimalist story about Willie (John Lurie), who lives in New York City, and his interactions with the two other main characters, Eva (Eszter Balint) and Eddie (Richard Edson). Some will hate the slow pace, but others will find it an occasionally hilarious and engaging comedy.

604. La Terra Trema (1948) Dir. Luchino Visconti, 165 mins.

Loosely adapted from Giovanni Verga’s novel I Malavoglia, the story takes place in the small Sicilian fishing village of Aci-Trezza, where the Valastra family continues the village’s long fishing tradition. Despite poverty and hard work, the village accepts its lot, but tensions mount when Antonio Valastra returns from the war and alienates some of the villagers with his suggestions for altering their working habits. When Antonio challenges the actions of the fish merchants, he is arrested and jailed, but not before impressing many of the villagers, who also long for change.

603. Happy Hour (2015) Dir. Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, 317 mins.

The film follows the lives and loves of four middle-class women in their thirties who are friends and who live in Kobe. When one reveals she is undergoing divorce proceedings, the others begin to rethink their relationships.

602. The Hour-Glass Sanatorium (1973) Dir. Wojciech Has, 124 mins.

The story follows a young Jewish man who visits his father in a mystical sanatorium where time does not behave normally.

601. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) Dir. Robert Aldrich, 134 mins.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a psychological thriller produced and directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Bette Davis as an aggressive and selfish former actress who holds her paraplegic sister (Joan Crawford) captive in an old Hollywood mansion.


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